Embezzlement

Those evil people....This site's author is quite familiar with the issues of fraud and embezzlement. In 1985, as part of a requirement to achieve recognition as a Fellow in a professional organization related to my employment, I authored a master's level thesis titled "White Collar Crime in the White Uniform World", published in the organization's journal. For several years in the early 2000s, I was a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. I've found cases of fraud and embezzlement in my professional field and have assisted in successful prosecutions of embezzlers, testifying as an expert witness leading to 'hard time' for the criminals involved. Perhaps more than any 99.9% of all other Masons (and, more especially, 'fake' Masons) who've commented on theft/embezzlement in Masonic bodies, I have actual expertise in this arena. If the bloggers who're always happy to find negativity in Freemasonry wish to present their  credentials showing they know more about and have more experience in this subject area than I do, their thoughts and opinions will be welcome and added here. Otherwise, you might wish to consider their gum-flapping as 'more of the same'.

Fraud and theft by embezzlement occurs throughout our society. Pick up any newspaper and during any given week you'll likely read a story about theft from a government office, a non-profit, or a local car dealership. No type of organization is immune. Freemasonry, whose membership is drawn from society, is not immune either. While it would be ideal to think that every Mason would think so highly of both the organization and himself that crime would never be a consideration, such Pollyanna is foolish. Masons are subject to greed and avarice like anyone else and, as in the society at large, sometimes they fall victim to the glitter of temptation.

In late July, 2008, the New York Times reported on potential fraud and ethics violations of the Shriners. Not long before this, Boston newspapers were reporting on a fraud and embezzlement investigation. In the words of one blogger who never misses the opportunity to denigrate the organization to which he belongs: "The Boston Herald reported on Saturday that an investigation is being conducted into allegations that as much as $1.5 million was embezzled from the 275-year old Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Does this even surprise anyone any more?" More on this below.

Another blogger offered these opinions:

"I would like to make two points in regards to this reoccurring problem across Mainstream Masonry."

Masonicinfo Note: Let's be REALLY honest here. This problem is not limited to "Mainstream Masonry". Prince Hall Masonry, and various non-recognized bodies (can we spell the word F-R-E-N-C-H in particular) have all had their problems. Have they had fewer? Yep! Why? Oh, it seems pretty simple and we'd think someone who'd studied economics could have sussed this out pretty quickly: there are fewer of them! Oh, and then there's those irregular and 'fake/sham' groups. Have they had such problems? Who knows? They don't make their financial transactions public in any way (unlike "Mainstream Masonry") so who'd ever be able to tell if they did. Their multitude of members all seem to be totally internet ignorant (despite their claims of a highly-educated and 'hip' membership) so who would ever know if they did have such problems. In our section on 'Fake Masonry', we've shown several groups which were and/or could very easily be engaged in bad behavior as well as some who're obviously designed to simply siphon funds from the unsuspecting.

"1) Masonic Lodges have for ad infinitum refused to bring in outside professionals to run their complicated programs and financial processes. Hence many Grand Lodges have amateurs running giant Masonic Charity Programs, amateurs running Masonic Retirement Communities and amateurs running a multi million dollar end of the businesss <sic> of Grand Lodge finances. What qualifies these amateurs? They are Masons and they work cheaply. Many Grand Lodges are very wary of taking chances entrusting outside professionals with private information and dealings of Grand Lodge. Therefore to keep all that they do secrative <sic> and to save money they will appoint a Grand Lodge Officer or in house "expert" to perform the duties which would be much better and more safely be performed by an outside professional or a professional agency."

Masonicinfo Note: Has this blogger ever had ANY experience attempting to balance the budget with competing priorities for ANY body relating to a Grand Lodge? (Or using a spell checker???) In an online self-glorification piece, he makes no reference to any credentials he might have - and that's because he has NONE. Perhaps he'll explain how he came to be so clever without any degrees or experience but we doubt it. He does have a college minor in Economics which might have caused him to take at least a course or two in micro-economics so perhaps he might want to write a treatise on how Grand Lodges can more effectively budget? (I have a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Government and a minor in Economics Magna Cum Laude so I'll be happy to take match point on the testosterone of relevant college degrees since I've brought comparative credentials into the discussion above.)

Three other points here, the first relative to retirement homes: ALL nursing homes and most group homes ("Masonic Retirement Communities") are both state and federally regulated. It's a requirement if they want to receive Medicaid dollars and precious few nursing homes - NO Masonic home - could exist without that! Nearly every state has LICENSING for Administrators of those homes and no state offers exemptions to ANY home (be they Masonic, Elks, or whatever) if an Administrator happens to be a member of the group. So while there are amateurs in the fantasy world of the "Squire", there are state-licensed Administrators in the real world of elder homes. An internet search will readily reveal that each year a number of administrators throughout the country lose their license for matters involving embezzlement or fraud.

Those stupid Freemasons!The second point relates to 'outside management'. Not that long ago, Masonic organizations (including some Grand Lodges) were bringing in professionals with no Masonic connections to provide advice and guidance. The most spectacular failure we noted in this regard was the use of consultants for the Order of DeMolay of which the blogger is a Senior Member. Can the blogger with his grandiose schemes present a single case which shows the unparalleled value of such services?

The third point should be blatantly obvious except to the deliberately obtuse: EVERY organization is subject to fraud and embezzlement. The US federal government counts such matters in the billions each year. They don't have volunteer amateurs handling their finances as the poster claims Grand Lodges do so one would think that they, state and city governments, etc. would all be immune. Curiously, they aren't. Ah, but it's easier to just castigate Freemasonry, right?

And one must wonder if this blogger has any clue as to the professional qualifications of those who serve on Grand Lodge Committees? Just because JD or CPA is not listed on a GL website doesn't mean that folks with those degrees aren't a part of the process! Has he checked the qualifications of those involved with the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, for example? He could have, quite easily, made contact with the Secretary to the Grand Master who, if memory serves, was also a Past Master Councilor of the blogger's DeMolay Chapter in that state!

Of course, the proof is in the pudding and so perhaps, since he has a college degree minor in economics, he'll be able to provide some statistical proof showing that Masonic activities are more prone to embezzlement than the general public. No? Oh, so this was all just hot air then; a ploy for attention. Uh-huh. Got it! 

"2) As you can see the government - the state of Massachusetts - is now involved in the investigation. Although they were asked in this does not mean that with future problems of another nature the state government would also not intervene and demand to see the records of Grand Lodge and documents and records it would always keep private."

Masonicinfo Note: This blogger, despite his proudly noting his service as Master of a Lodge in Massachusetts twice, seems blissfully unaware that nearly every Grand Lodge in the United States, his own former jurisdiction of Massachusetts included, has regularly included financial information about all of their various activities (balance sheets and income statements) in their Annual Proceedings, easily obtainable from the Grand Lodge office for less than the price of a paperback book at the local food market. And you don't have to be a Mason to buy one either.... Big hush-hush, huh?

He concludes:

"Moral of the story. Find a better way to screen out dishonrable <sic> people."

Masonicinfo Note: Great idea. Does "dishonrable" <sic> include people who belong to the organization but denigrate it and issue blanket condemnations of its members at every turn? Does "dishonrable" <sic> include people who support those who would overthrow the organization and/or those who tell deliberate lies about it?

Maybe the better moral of the story is for him to shut up and get a spell checker....

We'll wait with bated breath for your soon-to-be forthcoming statistical analysis - along with the blog whines about how mean Ed King is. Those are just SO comical - and, unsurprisingly, ad hominem. Can't find any way to refute what's been said here? Well then, just whine about the fact that I'm not a good example of Freemasonry or some such nebulous accusation. That's the way to do it by golly.
 

There's one other point to be made here: ALL regular/recognized Grand Lodges in the United States are audited by a firm of Certified Public Accountants. This is not a 'compilation' where they simply accept the numbers they are given and put them in a form appropriate for tax filing. Rather, these firms express a professional opinion on which others, using a standard terminology, can rely. Perhaps the Squire was unaware of that as well - and if so, he might want to become better informed before 'spouting off'.

Rooting out Masonic evils wins an Investigative Journalism Award! WOW!

You too can be a winner!Never missing an opportunity to disparage Freemasonry, the Blog termed by some as "The Smoldering Stub" breathlessly announced that the so-called "investigative reporter" Sandy Frost had won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists saying it was "second place in online media".

Of course what was omitted was... TA DA .... the REST of the story! Here it is:

Ms. Frost, whose self-written bio on that organization's website proudly proclaims "My ledes are written for the reader who has the attention span of a flea....". She paid $15 to be considered for this particular award which was for those in her organization's Pacific Northwest Region 10, consisting of Washington and Oregon only. Her award was ONE OF - hold your hats because this is going to show you how truly exclusive and important this was! - SIX HUNDRED AND SEVEN (607) given for the approximately 80 categories they had in the competition - for JUST TWO STATES!!! (You'll forgive us if we've under or over counted by a couple. You can double check the listing yourself right here.) Now we don't want to denigrate this organization but to be honest, it sounds to us like an award that a third grade class teacher might present to every member of the class. "Mommy, mommy! I got an award of excellence from school." "How many others in your class got an award, dear?" "All of them...."

Truth be told, the next time we'd like to raise a cool $9,000+, we're going to create an organization with dues about 20% less than current lodge dues (which the moaning bloggers are always saying have 'cheapened' the organization) and then have a contest for the best something-or-another with enough categories so that EVERYONE who enters will win something they can brag about. Pretty cool idea, huh?

Once again, those who're out actively pursuing an agenda against regular/recognized Freemasonry are quick to praise others of their ilk. Here's just one example! Perhaps predictably the several comments to this blog post are all cheers from those who're part of the 'fake Masonry' crowd.

And less anyone wish to assert that this page was written for the sole purpose of 'getting even', we would call their attention to (a) our disclaimer about item selection found here and (b) our ten + year old page, regularly updated, titled "Our Black Sheep" here.

Written: 30 July 2008, updated 27 August 2008.
 

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